The aim of the Serbian Ecosystem Services Partnership (SESP) is to bring interested parties together in a platform which applies ES to developments and decisions in society that not only affect people but also nature and biodiversity. As such the SESP strives to provide policy and decision makers, managers of protected areas (PA) and national parks (NP), NGOs, academics, concerned citizens, etc. with the framework and tools needed to make the case for sustainable management and use of land and natural resources; to protect and conserve nature and biodiversity; and to educate decision makers and the wider public on the uses that ecosystems provide to society.
What are Ecosystem Services?
Ecosystems are the result of complex interactions between the living and non-living components of a biological community (Cunningham and Cunningham, 2009). These complex interactions form the structure and processes of ecosystems which perform functions such as provisioning and regulating functions. From these functions, ecosystem goods and services can be obtained (de Groot, 1992) that represent the benefits human populations derive, directly or indirectly, from ecosystems (de Groot, 1992). ES can be valued in ecological, socio-cultural and economic values. Ecosystem services are defined as “flow of materials, energy and information obtained from ‘natural capital stocks’ which combine with manufactured and human capital services to produce human benefit” (Costanza et al., 1997). Ecosystem services put human wellbeing at the centre. It is therefore anthropocentric but also focuses on ecology and sustainability.
ES can be used:
- As a framework to analyse the state of ecosystems and the services they provide;
- for regional planning and management of ecosystems, PAs, etc.;
- to identify and specify stakeholders;
- to value ecosystem services:
- in social-cultural values (jobs, cultural identity, pleasure);
- in ecological values (species variety & quantity);
- in economic values (€ or Dinars);
- to perform trade-off analysis of land use;
- as policy and communication tools;
- to create policy and financial instruments to develop and make use of ecosystem services.
- To build and extent the network of researchers, practioners and policy makers who want to apply ES to research studies, to policy and decision making, and to the management of natural and protected areas;
- to build a bridge between decision makers and managers of ES with the users of ES;
- to provide information to interested parties about ecosystem services and the benefits they provide to society;
- to conduct research projects into the ES of natural areas and ecosystems;
- to apply ES in sustainable development projects.
- Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, MA
- The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study
- Foundation for Sustainable Development, FSD
Costanza R., d’Arge R., de Groot R., Farber S., Grasso M., Hannon B., Limburg K., Naeem S., O’Neill R., Paruelo J., Raskin R., Sutton P., van den Belt M. (1997): The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature vol 387.
Cunningham W. and Cunningham M. (2009): Principles of Environmental Science: Inquiry and Applications 5th edition. McGraw-Hill, NY, USA.
de Groot R.S. (1992): Functions of nature: Evaluation of nature in environmental planning, management and decision- making. Wolters Noordhoff B.V. Groningen, the Netherlands.